The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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The Human Society

I recently saw a Humane Society bumper sticker that read, “Save Homeless Pets.” Aside from the obvious misnomer (a homeless animal cannot exactly be a pet, now can it?), there is something that bothers me about that bumper sticker. No, I don’t have anything against animals – pets or otherwise. I have a pet myself, and two of my family’s beloved cats were strays that we took in. So, you might even say I have a history of helping homeless pets.

The thing that bothers me about a campaign to save homeless pets is that, while it is a good cause, I believe we should focus on homeless people before we worry about homeless pets. Maybe I should start a “Human Society” and make my own bumper sticker.

I’ve had this same basic conversation numerous times with a friend of mine who is an above-average animal lover. I’ve told her time and again that I have nothing against animals but that I wish we would address the issues affecting humans before we start spending all of our time and energy on animals. Her response? She feels like there is essentially no difference between humans and animals, so, in her mind, saving the life of an animal is no different than saving the life of a human. In the end, I know I cannot convince my friend that if she helps me eradicate homelessness in people, I will help her eradicate homelessness in animals.

But there lay the two biggest problems facing any and every rights group: we all have different priorities, and there’s simply not enough time to make a prioritized list of issues we will address first. Simply put, even if I were to coerce my friend into helping me eradicate homelessness in people, her heart would not be in it, and she would be grieved by the knowledge that many of her beloved should-be pets were living in alleys and dumpsters while she was working toward someone else’s goal.

So what am I to do? I cannot convince my friend that humans deserve more concern than animals, and I could not possibly (even if I were able to) bring myself to ask her to abandon her hopes, dreams, and desires to work for something she does not believe in first and foremost. How can I accomplish my dreams without crushing someone else’s?

Welcome to Humanity. We only have a million problems to fix and some six to eight billion people who can fix them, yet there are still, somehow, too many problems. I am no mathematician, but something does not quite add up there. Surely there must be some way we can divide-and-conquer. Surely it is in fact possible to address the various problems that plague our world in a reasonable fashion.

Even with all of our disagreements about politics and religion and money, surely everyone can agree that a hungry child deserves to be fed. Surely we can all agree that an old homeless woman deserves a warm bed on a cold night. Surely we can all find it in ourselves to take in one stray cat. And maybe we can forget about what our religion or political party says about hungry children, homeless old women, and stray cats and help these creatures just for the sake of Humanity.

Matt Brumit is a senior humanities major. He can be reached for comment at [email protected].

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